Esteban Salazar migrated from Morelos, Mexico, to the U.S. with his single mother and his two brothers at the age of 8. He grew up in Santa Ana, California, in a predominantly low-income undocumented Hispanic community. Growing up, he was adversely affected by the underfunded education system, inaccessibility to housing, and a looming fear of deportation. The high crime, drug, and gang activity in his neighborhood was an added barrier to the possibility of graduating from high school or college. Esteban was the first in his family to graduate high school. Due to his financial situation, status in this country, and many uncertainties, it took him 9 years after high school to begin his pursuit of higher education.
Through persistence, Esteban graduated from Santa Ana College with Honors and transferred to the University of California, Berkeley in 2019. There, he majored in Spanish and Portuguese Language Literature Culture of Spanish and minored in Race and the Law. He graduated in Spring of 2021 and is preparing to apply to law schools in Fall 2021.
Esteban's identity and adversity as an undocumented individual has been the impetus to reach his education and career goals. Aside from environmental factors, such as poverty, violence, lack of resources, and discrimination faced by minorities, undocumented people face an extra layer of systemic barriers that prevent them from being complete and active members of society. Esteban has been committed to helping his community overcome these barriers and has interned at various non-profit groups.
In his Santa Ana community, he interned with Community Legal Aid of SoCal, where he assisted low-income community members with various legal disputes ranging from family, landlord-tenant issues, and bankruptcy. Esteban also interned for Oakland’s Centro Legal de la Raza's Immigrants Rights (CLdLR) team. At CLdLR, Esteban supported attorneys with work permit applications for pending asylees, adjustment applications, state court filings for special immigrant juvenile findings, and expert declarations. Through these unique experiences, he has garnered valuable skills to decisively advocate for clients and empower them to take the necessary steps to advocate for themselves.
As a DreamSF Fellow, Esteban will be working as a law clerk with San Francisco’s La Raza Centro Legal in their Workers Rights' Program. At LRCL, Esteban assists attorneys in representing workers with wage and hour disputes, unlawful employment discrimination, and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Esteban enjoys collecting and trading sneakers; in his free time you can find him signing up for sneaker raffles around the Bay Area. On the weekends, he likes to binge watch UFC, soccer, and basketball matches with his friends. Pre-covid he enjoyed going to concerts de musica regional Mexicana and comedy shows.